Platform Meeting on invasive alien species ( IAS )

The LIFE programme had a key role in paving the way to the development and adoption of the EU Regulation 1143/2014 on IAS, which entered into force on 1 January 2015. Moreover, the LIFE programme contributed to generate an impressive body of knowledge in terms of innovative actions, lessons learned, experience, best practices, and technical information. With the aim to share them, a two-days platform meeting specifically focused on IAS was planned and held in Milan on 29 -30th November 2017, bringing together the multitude of EU LIFE funded projects dealing with alien species.
The organization of the meeting was hosted by Lombardy Region, coordinating beneficiary of the Integrated Project LIFE14 IPE/IT/000018 GESTIRE 2020 “Nature Integrated Management to 2020”, which includes actions dealing with IAS. The aim of the platform meeting, also sustained by NEEMO (the external monitoring team supporting the European Commission and EASME for the implementation of the LIFE programme), was to gather project beneficiaries and representatives from the main institutional bodies such as the European Commission, the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Secretariat of the Bern Convention of the Council of Europe.
The meeting was an occasion to assess strengths and weaknesses of the LIFE programme in relation to the implementation of the EU Regulation of IAS (along with the related EU Biodiversity strategy to 2020), to evaluate future challenges and opportunities, including links with other nature protection EU policy and legislation (Birds and Habitats Directives, Wildlife Trade Regulations, Water Framework Directive, etc.) along with possible synergies with other EU financial resources (Horizon 2020, Rural Development funds, Marine and Fisheries Fund, etc.).
The conference was organized with a focus on IAS related themes with a particular care for best practices and recommendations. It was a fruitful event as it contributed to the exchange of experiences and dissemination of best practices which should act as example for the development of further ideas and proposals and allowed to put into contact projects with similar issues. An abstract book containing information on all participating projects was distributed at the meeting.
The presentation we proposed was titled “Ailanthus altissima control: experiences within the LIFE Alta Murgia project” and focused on the main transferable and repeatable results so far obtained (mapping software, control strategy, etc.) and on the main constraints (technical, bureaucratic and normative).
Important contacts were established with expert from other projects and with authorities from the main institutional bodies. The participation in the event allowed to give wide visibility, to disseminate the results achieved within the LIFE Alta Murgia project and to receive numerous appreciations on the activities carried out, in progress and on the strategy to control ailanthus, thus confirming the importance of the networking activities.